Lady Whalers Fall to Port Jeff and League Title Slips Away

Pierson's Chiara Bedini drives to the basket against Port Jefferson on Tuesday. Michael Heller photos

Whaler Nation will wrap the Pierson/Bridgehampton girls basketball team in a warm embrace on Friday night as the Sag Harbor Booster Foundation celebrates its ninth annual Spirit Night at Pierson High School.

The Lady Whalers could use the love.

Port Jefferson cemented itself as the top team in League VII with a 53-38 win over the host Lady Whalers on Tuesday, riding a 20-6 second quarter to blow the game wide open.

Port Jeff’s Samantha Ayotte hit three of her team’s six three-pointers in the first half and finished with a game-high 16 points as the Lady Royals improved to 12-1 in league play with just four games remaining.

Sofia Mancino struggles to get off a shot against Port Jefferson.

“They’re a good team. It was not a surprise,” Pierson head coach John “Woody” Kneeland said afterwards. “I wanted to do better, but they’re a good team. “

The Lady Whalers dropped to 8-3 and now turn their attention to a 5 p.m. home game against Babylon on Friday, January 24, to kick-off the school’s annual Spirit Night celebration.

Pierson will qualify for the Class C postseason, where no other schools compete in Suffolk County, meaning the first stop would be a state regional game in early March. The team will also compete in the overall county tournament, and could see Port Jefferson, a Class B team, one more time.

In order to reverse Tuesday’s result, the Lady Whalers would have to play better as a team, their head coach John “Woody” Kneeland said on Tuesday. The Lady Royals doubled-teamed Pierson senior Chastin Giles all night, holding the Lady Whalers’ leading scorer to just three points.

In addition to her desire to finish the season strong and lead Pierson into the postseason, Giles is chasing 1,000 points for her career, which has been split between Mercy, where she played her freshman season, and Pierson. Going into Friday night’s game against Babylon Giles has 946 points, needing 54 more with five games remaining in the regular season.

With Giles kept largely in check on Tuesday, Chiara Bedini led the Lady Whalers with 12 points and Sofia Mancino scored 11. Grace Perello had six points, and Kathryn Powell had four.

Pierson will play at Southampton on January 27 and will return home to face Smithtown Christian on January 30.

Pierson Boys Run Past Greenport 

Wilson Bennett scored 23 points and Henry Brooks added 22 as the Pierson boys basketball team raced past Greenport on January 16, 74-50, to extend its League VII-best record to a perfect 6-0.  Nick Egbert had 10 points to help lead the Whalers, who have won four games in a row to start the New Year.

Pierson faced Shelter Island on Tuesday and will host Connetquot tonight, January 23, at 6:15 p.m. in a non-league game.